For an explanation, see the main splats page
The principles of the oceans
- The sea contains large amounts of dissolved material, including minerals and dissolved gases. It also contains very large numbers of organisms of all sizes.
- We know a great deal about the general shape of the ocean bottoms from echo sounding, where reflected sonar signals allow the bottom to be mapped accurately.
- We know about the ocean bottoms from drilling programs, from remotely controlled submarines and from instruments lowered to gather samples and data.
- Cold water contains more dissolved gases than warm water, and in particular, it contains more dissolved oxygen, making it easier for aquatic animals to breathe.
- The world's ocean currents are all interlinked, so that the blockage of any channel, anywhere in the world, could have major effects elsewhere in the world.
- Cold ocean currents that are forced to the surface carry large amounts of mineral nutrients, and these upwellings support high levels of productivity.
- Storm systems spin around a low pressure zone in accordance with the Coriolis effect, so they go clockwise in the south, counter-clockwise in the north.
- Tides and waves bring about smaller scale water movements than those created by ocean currents, but even these are able to move sediment on and along beaches.
- Winds and ocean currents spread life forms around the world, in large part as rafts washed down flooded rivers, which act as temporary refuges for vertebrates.
- In the past, it is likely that volcanic activity near Indonesia has changed local, and thus world ocean current patterns by opening and closing various gaps.
- The number of icebergs seen outside the Arctic and Antarctic Circles has increased with global warming, because this causes glaciers to lose ice faster.
- In the oceans, iron is usually the limiting factor: it has been suggested that algal blooms could be generated to act as a carbon sink by adding iron salts.
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